NEWS: Red Bull Soapbox Race 2013 Attracts 20,000+ Crowds
More than 20,000 spectators turned out in the glorious sunshine at Alexandra Palace on Sunday – for the surreal, fun Red Bull Soapbox Racing Derby. Back after a nine-year break, the wacky gravity racing event attracted some stella soapboxes – with the winners Team Spit-Phya from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with their 'Phya-Bird' soapbox, not that winning matters here at all of course!
Seventy teams competed for the ultimate accolade of the UK’s best soapboxers – creators and drivers of vehicles powered by nothing but gravity. They zoomed down a specially constructed 420m course at speeds of up to 52 kilometres per hour, attempting to avoid falling foul of obstacles including tricky steps Apples and Pears and huge jump Big Air – designed to give the teams as tough a ride as possible and ensure crashes galore.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing Principal Christian Horner said of the racing: “It’s been an absolutely fantastic day; the effort from all the participants, the enthusiasm of all the 20,000 people here, a stunning day weather wise… it’s been a perfect afternoon. (It was) an event that only Red Bull could put on!”
The judges, Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner; Chief Designer at Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Rob Marshall; street trials pro-rider, Danny MacAskill and Downhill Mountain Biker, Gee Atherton; were looking out for creativity and showmanship as well as speed – and the entrants did not disappoint.
Team Spit-Phya from Newcastle, made up of motorbike engineers; Team Captain Mark Wells, Ian Wride, Greg Seed and Rory Norton, stormed to victory with their soapbox which was inspired by Great British land speed record vehicles.
Team Captain, Mark Wells, said: “The team has worked incredibly hard and we’re all amazed…Genuinely I’m just elated… We were inspired by the old Great British land speed record racers Donald Campbell and John Cobb and we just wanted to celebrate that. I am amazingly proud of this team.”
Judge Gee Atherton said: “The winners were very impressive, the car was absolutely spot on. They had the style and they managed to put a bit of a show on for the crowd at the start. Definitely one of my favourites… and they managed to survive the track as well which is a bonus!”
As if the honour of taking the top spot wasn’t enough, the winners will be given a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Inifiniti Red Bull Racing Factory. They’ll also get the chance to show off their driving skills on a high-performance racing track.
In second place were London’s The Coffin Dodgers, who have won a day of action-packed fun at a high-performance racing track. The team was made up of ex-undertaker Russell Wynn, David Townsend, Phil Selvey and Arthur Finch. Gee Atherton had particular fondness for the team, saying: “They had a good show, it wasn’t the fastest but they entertained the crowd. It was wild watching them go all the way down – really exciting – I was on the edge of my seat for that one!”
In third place came Minis Rugby coaches from Barnet, Herts: Does My Scrum Look Big in This? The prize for Shuan Fabian, Adrian Heeson, Mike Todd and “Big” Phil Aspinall who coach at Barnet Elizabethan Rugby Football Club is a day’s go-kart racing for 10 people.
Honorable mentions must go to Two Peas in a Cod, who got back in their soapbox and finished even after crashing halfway through the race, and The Bolt Mobile – an incredibly lifelike giant Usain Bolt who was carried over the finishing line by his team.
The Results: Top Ten
1. Team Spit-Phya: The Phya-Bird (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne)
2. Coffin Dodgers (London)
3. Does My Scrum Look Big in This (Barnet, Herts)
4. Bangers and Smash (London)
5. Blue Suede Shoe (Derbyshire)
6. The Runaway Bakers (York)
7. Chariots of Fire (Cobham, Surrey)
8. Get Them to Ze Chopper (London)
9. Millie the Moth (Ashford, Kent)
10. A Piece of Cake (Exeter, Devon)
The 20,000 spectators who flocked to Alexandra Palace were duly rewarded for sticking out the incredibly high trackside temperature as they witnessed a stellar group of adrenaline junkies with nerves of steel complete (if you've never done it, try it - it takes balls!) the downhill course. Other soapboxes taking part in the event included a dung beetle, bunch of asparagus, waterskiing Queen and London tube train.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing entertained the crowds by sending down a replica F1 soapbox down the track, with Team Principal Christian Horner at the wheel. Clearly nervous before starting the race, he said: “No-one told me there were jumps… I might need to change my underwear!”Upon completing his run, during which the soapbox lost both back wheels, Christian concluded: “That was the most scary thing I have ever done in my life!”
Full results and photos can be found at: www.redbullsoapboxrace.co.uk
And you can see a load of ace images on our Facebook page here.